Voluntary and community sector

CRESR has expertise and a long standing interest in the study of the voluntary and community sector. We undertake research both for and about the sector.

Our work focuses on:

  • measuring and mapping the voluntary and community sector
  • measuring outcomes and impact, including of social return on investment
  • approaches to social investment and funding
  • understanding sustainability, resilience and financial vulnerability
  • engagement and participation of communities

We also undertake research on specific social, economic and policy issues for clients. For example, we carried out research on hidden homelessness for the housing charity Crisis and have looked at the role of community businesses for rural community councils.

Search our work

Impact evaluation of the Volunteer for Stronger Communities project

Project Director: Richard Crisp
Project Duration: 2012-2013

This project evaluated the impact of 15 projects to promote volunteering that were funded through the Volunteering for Stronger Communities programme. The Programme used volunteering to help improve employability and strengthen in the context of economic uncertainty.

Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT) Warm Homes Evaluation

Project Director: Jan Gilbertson
Project Duration: 2013

FILT is a charity set up to help the clients of home improvement agencies (HIAs). Funding for the Warm Homes Service (WHS) is from the Department of Health over winter 2012/13. The WHS aimed to assist older and vulnerable people at risk from cold weather and prevent cold related harm and illness.

The evaluation aimed to i) identify the impacts on health and wellbeing of households in receipt of WHS as seen from the perspective of HIAs and households in terms of physical health, comfort and mental health and wellbeing and ii) understand which interventions have worked well for whom and why.

Exploring the impact of Work Clubs in Manchester

Project Director: Dr Richard Crisp
Project Duration: 2013

This project will explore the strategic role and impact of Work Clubs in Manchester through qualitative research with Work Club staff and beneficiaries.

Measuring Giving in Money and Time by Business at a Local Level

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2013

This project helped develop an understanding of the contribution businesses can make to voluntary and community organisations at a local level. The project worked to address a widely acknowledged gap in evidence.

The Social Benefits of Engagement with Culture and Sport

Project Director: Professor Peter Taylor (SIRC)
Project Duration: 2012-2013

Commissioned under the DCMS CASE programme this project seeks to enhance knowledge and understanding of the impact of culture and sport on well-being. The study provides evidence on an array of social impacts and provides guidance as to how impact can be measured in the future.

Get in touch

For further information please contact Sarah Pearson at or call 0114 225 4902,
or Professor Peter Wells at or call 0114 225 6262.

Key clients

Action Together
Age UK
Big Lottery Fund
Bolton CVS
British Red Cross
Cabinet Office
Church Urban Fund
Community Fund
Community Links
CVS Rochdale
Economic and Social Research Council
Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT)
Groundwork UK
Heritage Lottery Fund
Home Office
Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council
Involve Yorkshire and Humber
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales
National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA)
National Council for Voluntary Organisations
NHS Nottingham City CCG
Northern Rock Foundation
Rural Action Derbyshire
Salford CVS
South Yorkshire Housing Association
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
Trussell Trust
Voluntary Action Rotherham
Yorkshire Adoption Agency
Yorkshire Rural Community Council
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